Xenophobia in Iowa

I have a personal dread for the fact Iowa sets the tempo for the presidential campaign by having the first primary, and it really began to sink in during my last visit, well, exile really, to southeastern Iowa, only a few miles from the historic birthplace of the Republican Party, in Crawfordsville, Iowa. There's not much to see now at the original headquarters for the future GOP, mostly a single door, perhaps a historical site in a small white building, at a one-intersection at a crossing for other burghs along the road, miles and miles of barns and farm houses, rolling hills, the great expanse of sky. Maybe 300 people live within a mile of it all now. In 1854 Whig Party defectors meet in a closed meeting to pave the way of the new political party. Fittingly, I found myself, a college-educated professional journalist, looking for a place to fit in among the ghosts of no-nothingism, still alive and well across the county and beyond.

More or less found myself as a refugee of the economic crisis they now call the Recession, but really it was a depression. As I walked among the ruins of a cratered party of the country, with small communities turned into ghost towns, the Walmart economy sucking them all dry, and the good ol' boys, still running things, running the temperature of some of the most hateful people I've ever run across. Yeah, a lot of running. Trying to get out in front of the near medieval hatred out there. Indeed, if they grow anything out there on the farms of Iowa it's xenophobia.

As a refuge while convalescing in an anonymoplace in the corn fields of southeastern Iowa, there was a big barn next to an anhydrous amonia distribution facility. If you drove by it on the highway, the entire civilized area, actually an old broken down railroad stop with an old grain silo and several empty buildings representing days gone by. The barn, more like a large aluminum shed structure with several rooms and open areas inside, a kind of hodgepodge after years of additions and remodels, was filled with all kinds of useful, potentially, items collected from around the region: furniture, farm implements, old tractors, piping, chemicals, paint, wiring, fertilizer, old toys, enough trinkets to fill an antique store. Early in the morning I would go there as I wandered around the remnants of an enclave including maybe a half-dozen residences scattered around a large open field with dozens of wrecked and usually burned vehicles parked on the lawns like trophies. Most of these were fabled demolition derby vehicles.

When the sun came up the big barn was a place to watch the sun rise and fall and stay warm. In all directions were cornfields. This was right smack in the middle of Monsanto's iron-fisted grip on the agricultural life of the region and also a cancer cluster. On windy days methane from pig farms would roll across the earth, making you feel dizzy and a little (more insane). Alcoholism, disguised in the form of football tail-gating style total inebriation, also ruled the countryside. One nearby town, so bombed out by the Walmart sucking action, had no market to sell beer ...

Anyway, one other ringing memory from that period was the night a presidential candidate arrived at the Iowa City airport past midnight, and was then taken away into the city with a full caravan of police cars blaring the sirens. Maybe they were bringing in the big wig to meet with this one farmer (featured in the photo above), some crazy old crackpot hooked up to Fox News and the local Christian cult. That Donald Trump and Ted Cruz lead in this country should be no surprise. The scarecrow is out there for all to see.


Time and Sound

Waking to the working man music,
seeking the shadows in the sounds
of the nineteen seventies,
since we are all churned
into semi-sweet baked cookies
in the summer, flipped on
by the big thaws of winter

The Teflon dons
of the nineteen eighties
are switched on, switched off
Reagan era commands,
the hyper-Gothic rhymes,
the guitar-crunching cries
after the Berlin Walls
all falls down, down, down,
as the angel of lights
floats into the alternating
lime greens as the money
turns into big seas of digits,
feeding the Taurus bull
at the beginning of the new
century, swearing to sea salts
of ubiquitous security

Sure, you tried to turn
your sword of words
into plowshares
looking for a re-boot
and now the black raven
cries over your shoulder
as you spit and cuss and croon
like a barnyard babe, street-tough
as the last-born child,
when you are actually
the first as the second cloud
of the day rises in the sky

But you can stop the insanity
outside your door anymore
than you can disassemble
the arching winds working
on your bunker, Archie,
since the pride of sin
is to admit, at some point,
that we are all overpriced
princes of peace,
at ease, at best, but ill

Carry the candle carefully
across the darkened room
to let the drenching of earthly flesh
shine brightly in all cathedrals
curving into a bit of hope,
exchanged for the rope,
a horizon made dangerous
by lakes of ice clear as glass

Pythagoreans, Franklins, Da Vincis,
Miltons and Blakes: Mithras
is a self-made man,
independent of media scams ...
Oh words, words, what were the words?

If the hand signals to space
hidden from reasonable, orderly beings
were thrashed out of the tides,
to live here, then die,
the call of the crazed daemon
who saw the angels
in the great stadiums
of those profoundly humbled
by the mere disappearance
of one benevolent being,
then the cooperation of choruses,
a music made by band mates
never would have been a throng

But the whistles, the voices,
the bass were all dreamed here then.
in these ears, deadened as they are
from the tone of too many super stars

Surely, the sunlight, cutting through the rain
creating a hole in the sky,
means the game is on, a rapture, a sacred dance
on the holiest of grounds




Most recent news from Arizona's politics includes bills being discussed in the state legislature to allow guns to be carried on college campuses. The curious irony in northern Arizona is the best-known appearance of hand guns resulted in a deadly shooting on the campus of Northern Arizona University. The basis for this wave of open carry stuff is, of course, the Second Amendment, built upon the premise, among other things, that a militia would be needed to remain armed in case, say, the British came back. And in the case of the shooting right down the street, it turned out it wasn't a British invasion, but a fleet of television trucks to display what, exactly? is the benefit of having guns on campus. But extremism is ... blah, blah, blah ...

If you follow this flintlock musket policy initiative to a few logical implications, all part of a Barry Goldwater meme buried like valley fever in the sands of the Southwest, then the sovereign principality of Arizona should send away all federal employees, including the military and border patrol. Then it can establish its own constitution, supreme court, and enforce what it really has in mind, a rigidly biblical caliphate where everyone should be carrying a rifle to everything.

Arizona voters are the first to blame for the apparent dysfunction of this crew. But rather than voting out the designers of the budget crisis, a governor was put in to reinvent the wheel. And Goldwater Institute goons were brought in to be the "yes" men. Sounds like the crunch over school funds is just the tip of the iceberg since these designers, not being scientists, won't embrace the wheel until more research comes in. It's good advice to keep following the money for all kinds of categories as the radicals seek to privatize law enforcement, prisons, social safety nets or hand over public lands to developers. They seem to be intent on handing over government programs to a legion of mercenaries, reintroducing a system that we haven't seen since the 19th century, or, in some cases, the Middle Ages. It's becoming a cruel world, indeed. Which is why, I suppose, all of these rifles are needed.

The Goldwater Institute, hunkered down in the melted money mounts of Paradise Valley, is a menace to compassionate governance. If we had listened to that bunch, there would be no light rail system in the Valley. It's an anti-union, anti public healthcare think tank for the tax dodging cronies of the New Capitalism, replacing social ideals fought for across the Western World with a new religion called "profit." We haven't seen this wave greed hounds since the Reagan era, and now the fate of the 99 percent is at their mercy.


Paranoia goes pop, again

Anticipating "The X-Files"

I want to believe. Really, I do. Surely, the truth is out there. But I'm wondering if "The X-Files," when it returns to TV later this month, will be able to recapture the pre-millennial moods and mysteries that made it a cult hit in the 1990s.
Should we yearn for the days when an empty factory could be a secret base for otherwordly conspirators, when white unmarked vans were filled with shape-shifting apparitions of unspeakable menace, when that small town in the Midwest was the sinister nest for a psychic serial killer, thus making Area 51 the real dream destination for a millions of fans of the show?
Fourteen years since its last show,"The X-Files" returns to television on FOX-TV on Jan. 24 to re-introduce viewers to its supernatural darkness, with its own mythological arc, kept in the unlit basement of the American psyche. After more than a decade of only having the re-runs, "The X-Files" is ready to spring again like a Jack-in-the-box of ill-fated portents.
While Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) will return for a mere six episodes, they are most certainly doing a victory lap for the two beloved characters who embody the rational and irrational in all of us. One is left to wonder if the show might feel naive, out of place in an entertainment mecca overwhelmed by dangers reflecting a brutal world like in "Game of Thrones," except without the dragons. The sci-fi horror drama will return to a world challenged by fluctuating economic conditions, climate change and terrorism.
And so how can you top that?
Will the return of "The X-Files" really reflect the mysteries for our times?
The world has changed a lot since the show first aired on Sept. 10, 1993. The internet had not yet been popularized, the World Trade Center's Twin Towers were still standing, and the country had yet to face the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression. The show petered out less than a year after Sept. 11, 2001, as the television universe moved into a more anti-terrorism narrative, with shows like "24," which made it look like the landscape was being taken over by cell phones, or films such as "Zero Dark Thirty," which peered into the behind-the-scenes machinations of torture and military special ops with a patriotic sheen.
But "The X-Files" creator Chris Carter says he sees potential episodes for the show by reading the news every day, and few could argue that the real world is far weirder than it once was. Just look at your cell phone with the app set for panic.
The common view on the show was that it emerged out of the cynicism of the 1990s. However, I believe it really dug further into the roots of national paranoia going back to the 1950s, when Sen. Joseph McCarthy ratcheted up the Cold War with charges of communist infiltration, when people still believed aliens crashed near Roswell, New Mexico, and then the 1960s, when the unsatisfactory results of the Warren Commission turned theories about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy into a cottage industry for conspiracy theories. Since World War II and the atomic bomb, politics and fear have become twin sides of the same coin, and if anything, "The X-Files" managed to capture all of it with a slick, post-modern show that turned the relatively calm and seeming stability of the Clinton years into a looming dystopian nightmare.
By tackling marginal FBI cases where the paranomal was involved, agents Mulder and Scully rode the fear wave into the approaching century, that, as some might remember, was likely to begin with all of the computers turning off across the world within the first minutes of 2000 (didn't happen). And yes, by 2012 you might have wondered if the super rich were pilfering the economy to buy tickets for space flights to get off the planet, but four years since then we have realized the billionaire elite were just plain greedy.
For myself, "The X-Files" ended as America's zeitgeist show, with one of the first episodes of the spinoff created about the geeks from X-Files, "The Lone Gunmen," in the summer of 2001. That episode dealt with a conspiracy to crash airliners into the World Trade Center. Shot shortly before 9/11, the episode was certainly prescient, but also more than a little sickening.
The main question is that, in the shadow of all that's happened since "The X-Files" last aired in 2002, is the appetite there for themes that aren't mostly character driven? Without a doubt, the mere appearance of Mulder-Scully on TV is a resuscitation of two of the great heroes in television history. But I have my doubts if all of those sewer monsters and hick vampires are going to scare anybody in an age of anthrax and super storms and Donald Trump. Global surveillance and cyber wars are certainly cause for concern. However, do they make for good "X-Files" episodes?
Sounds like a lot of looking at computer screens to me.
"The X-Files" was certainly a show for its time, but like bringing back the boys for that name brand band to go on tour again, the return of the show may make us feel sentimental for the good ol' days when all that you had to worry about was whether some intergallactic fiend is going to inject you with a black fluid to turn you into some kind of alien-Earth hybrid.
The truth is out there, sure. It's in plain view. It's hanging out with ebola and freaks like Bernie Madoff. Now I wonder if the masses are in the mood for an ever-expanding mystery. This time answers are in need, and somebody needs to tell that uncle who is into conspiracy theories to get real. That UFOs are swamp gas. That flying unidentified stuff tested at Area 51 years ago now flies over parades and football games to heighten the fun and celebration and excitement of modern aviation. That the white unmarked van parked outside the door was always, thankfully, just the caterer. Right?


Just name the whole country 'Trump'

Like the rest of the media I'm suffering from writer's block because I can't think of anything else but Donald Trump. Not because I'm part of that baffling sect of lookiloos who attend his rallys, which look like mocking roasts of the disenfranchised, tuning up America's worst fears, with the punchlines being the most outrageous of solutions, a horrible spectacle, like in a "Godzilla" movie. Trump must emit some kind of invisible gravitational force, activated by my own and others' negativity on historic and cultural perspectives, causing one to think of old film stock of pre-World War II events in Germany, of a blustering Mussolini. Except in this case the reality TV set is a high-definition red, white and blue television oasis, a post-literate Twitterverse as the new mob subculture seeks to divide and conquer.

When politics as reality TV is the overwhelming entertainment option, you just can't look away. At first it seemed bizarre, comic about the Republican frontrunner's reality TV style campaign, offered free by the national media (writer's blocked) until he only just recently started to buy advertising. But the humor, if there was any, is gone now. The entire social demeanor has taken an awful turn.

How do we find our happy place? How about baseball? Think about baseball. Total Jedi mind trick, baseball.

For example, how happy were many Arizona Diamondbacks fans when the team backed up the truck and signed the pitcher Zack Grienke for just over $200 million? But, stumped by the Trump again, I'm imagining that, for that kind of money, the team could have just re-enginered the entire stadium by building a clear unbreakable plastic wall from left field to right. Turn the whole place into a handball arena, with outfielders geared to handle the ball once it is rejected by the mighty Trump-like fence? Who needs pitching in a no-homer dome?

Ah, but finally, I found that unsatisfying. Outrageous. Un-American, even.

But since two hundred million dollars won't do, seemingly, what it once did for being able to buy the presidency, which now requires a self-funded billionaire to turn the entire process around, it's really not worth saying the Diamondbacks could have found very much better to spend their money on.

Two hundred million dollars won't do what it once did. I checked. Oh, the freakonomics of it all. To me, the most awesome demonstration of per unit cost, globally, are modern warplanes. For example, you can get an aircraft carrier fighter/bomber for around $55 million, or, three fighters for the price of one front line big league free agent pitcher, with change left over for maintenance, ammunition, fuel, bribes to local officials, whatever you need. A decent second baseman is going for about $50 million, also. A F-22 fighter, advertised as the most lethal of such planes in the world, costs $200 million each, too, but how do you cover the outfield, or any other border, for that matter, with just one airplane?

Presidential candidate Jeb Bush has spent $50 million in the Republican race, but has thrown all of that money out the window against Trump, beneficiary of free publicity provided by the talking heads ... Ah, the anguish, back on Trump again. Jeb should buy a cheaper fighter, give it to his brother, and let them both land on some carrier deck somewhere, greeted by, I dunno, Paula Abdul. Maybe that would help improve his campaign, which lacks theatrics.

It's looking like there's no cure for the big Trump stump.

Time to close the eyes and vanish into a galaxy far away, where, diving into the great recycle bin of 20th century culture, which we never seem to be able to escape from, the latest Star Wars installment made more than $200 million on its first weekend: Or, four fighter bombers, or, one front-line starting pitcher.

You could think about Hillary Clinton, the likely democratic nominee, who staked an early position on the whole "Star Wars" theme. At the last Democratic debate in December, she ended her bit by saying, "Thank you, good night, and may the force be with you," instead of the usual God bless America. President Barrack Obama followed this up by wrapping up an hour-long end-of-the-year press conference by saying, “OK, everybody, I got to get to 'Star Wars.’ ” The movie's director, J.J. Abrams, has given $1 million (which buys you what? A tooth brush?) to the Clinton campaign cause, so clearly the force is breaking to the left so far.

To get back on top of this, the first Donald Trump television ad admonished the president for wanting to get to the "Star Wars" screening when he should have been out, I don't know, directing bombing raids against ISIS. But it's hard to know how far the Republicans want to play the anti-nerd card. That sounds like political suicide.

But needless to say, it's Trump again! With this kind of disruption in the force, it's a wonder how anybody can get a grip.


Rain Station

The hurricane journal colonel
meets the wind at the Porterville
train station as birds fall
out of a fallen tree

Shoeshine wet steel along
a busted up railroad line,
heading to nowhere
in the eternal now

Isaac Smith took the first
bullet train away from the coast
and the pellet is  a richochet
from sea to sinning sea

Storm riders in white robes
lost the battle but won
the water war: The one-eyed leper
watches the stain running up
the wailing wall ...

Meanwhile, back at the submarine
boat show of snakes running
beneath the floorboards of Boston
to the Milldam corner of Concord,
discord cannot carry any cannons
across the creek as history repeats
each and every morning, twice,
and the ripples still by morning light.

A Brief Visit 
to Ballpark Earth

First thing I've got to say is this:
I'm pissed I never got to play
Major League Baseball

Second, and this is a big one
She looked so good
in her fishnet stockings
and we were in sixth grade still
and I still haven't
been able to keep my eye
on the ball
ever since

Third ... sure,
the psychologist
for getting
the whole thing
more than half wrong
and these are bad
and you paid
the bill to guard
the lunatic asylum
and it sure doesn't
bring all of the dead
dead doggies all back

Fourth, equally unimportant ...
Just who is keeping
score, Dear Lord ...
Who has all of the stats,
Stan the Man,
and who is keeping
the big statistical
law book of life?

I mean shit, shit, shit ...
I can't even spit here
and I have not looked
at a box score
since last spring,
when I still had hope
for the Diamond King
and sure, forty thousand
princes and queens are seated
in the stands now
text messaging, waving
to their kids back at home,
but they aren't watching anyway,
since fishnets are back in style
and so are their fuck me
I'm a ho tattoosies
on the telly and the Jumbotron,
which caught them kissing
doesn't even record,
just flashes,
then flies on by

~ Douglas McDaniel,
Sedona, Arizona

Down the Road
from Crawfordsville

Somewhere at the end of the road
Down where the railroad used to go
In her trailer she slept with a frown
Trying to stare her demons down
The statue of libertines came around
The wolf had already walked the town
I wrote poetry without much sound
Except for a laugh
from all of the dumbing down

Down the road from Crawfordsville
the broken motor man turned to stone
like Apache copters a'rotoring on
and wagons circling from raging clowns
they argued the point
till the town burned down

Though they paid the rent
for ten dollars a week
the world was shred
by wolves among sheep
as smokes he borrowed
he burned to keep from weeping
and anhydrous ammonia
came up from the deep
and she worshiped her stars
when lacking sleep
while pine needles fell
in symmetries at her feet
before the dogs all howled
in the morning light
down the road from Crawfordsville

They all got a book out
about self-proclaiming,
about water-board wording
and daylight savings,
burning bushes, barns,
the hay needle's laughter
about the unicorn dying
while the Republican Party's
secret headquarters
has gone to rust
down the road
in Crawfordsville

Yeah, down the road
from that tiny Ta'Iowa town
a pig farmer named Lester
is happier than hell
He's driving by
with a sleeping hawkeye
his parallax view
can tell no more lies
and the good book sold now
to the controverted
stands in the way
of truth's memory
of the local sounds
in Crawfordsville
Cardinal square in sharp-cut corners
the coroner croons with each hard winter
turning summer waters cancer cluster bitter

Down the road from Crawfordsville
"climate is dead" for the motorhead,
fertilizer falls from the fire-up sky,
we need not ask for the season of why

Down the road from Crawfordsville
the maharishi's prayer is for a limo
in need of more corn-fed gasoline
and up the road: the Wal Mart roadkill
is churned up dust from that shuttered
restaurant full of crap for the ghostly haunt

Down the road from Crawfordsville
that old shack is burning still
with bushels full of Monsanto seed corn
breaking your teeth on porky porn
as the Synergy trucker waves goodbye
but even with buckets full of energy
we want heroes, well here are three
with eleven cups of free coffee, cigs,
some sanity for satiety, a kind kinda
Fire Safety Week society
for squeaking toys and dogs
to run free

Down the road from Crawfordsville
there's good folks out there, out there still,
while the eye in the sky is scorching 'em dry
they don't even ask the reason why
since loose lips sink ships, Holy Reagan cow!
The washing machine's roll is terror, Wow!

But the tenderloin's pound is a tender drum
of country folk who ain't ho hum
Can you hear them tommy tum tums
of the super farmer's food taught, like magic,
by a hand-held Fibonacci sequence tool

Down the road from Crawfordsville
the Big Box trucker armies
broke 'em up bad,
so forget those things
you learned in school
about how Frodo kept the ring
and the Golden Rule,
about how mega Hertz
made German tanks,
cause techno Teotihucuan
gives good thanks
at the dinner table, to the cops,
to your loan at your banks

Just let it roll by, let it fire its blanks,
'cause down the road from Crawfordsville
you can still greet the sun in sacrificial light
and the morning moon will come a day too soon,
so swim with the shore you supper fools ...

Down the road from Crawfordsville
worms from the air get carved up, cool,
the super farmer's just awe right
'cause disinformation is far outta sight
and William Shatner just plain lied
to those poor folks in Riverside
and east to west the buffalo returns
to beat the dust from the Bible belt's urn

Down the road from Crawfordsville
a bard's lament is the ever-giving quest,
despite the wormwood, yer guns, yer tongue,
you'll give great thanks when mourning is done,
when her sacrificial second sight is Mary singing
about storms to come, about enough blood to drown
the terrorists of shock, awe, the dumbing down,
just can't avoid the daily bank scam man
who hits the train station burned to the ground
and the bump in the road will kill you if found

Meanwhile the ranch gets saved up the road
from Crawfordsville, where sileage choppers
look like haircut machines by day, E.T. by night,
like giant Sandworms harvesting spice,
and the golf course tanned Dan
is a thousand miles away, tinkering
with puppets to sway, like bobcats
shot and killed and made into hats,
the collection plate is eternal
as the frightly nightly news
the heroes go on despite these views
when asked how she feels she sighs and says,
"Peaceful," she says, "and peaceful is nice."

~ Ames, Iowa
Note: The first private meeting of what would become the Republican Party came when Whig Partydefectors met privately in Crawfordsville in February, 1854. The meeting was to lay the groundwork for the creation of a new political party. The first public meeting was held in Ripon, Wisconsin one month later.


A Conspiracy of Ducks

The entanglements of the Spider Woman
led me here to tell you of too many things,
but hear me now and keep all a secret:
Only half of what Soutenang spoke
of yesterday is Wormwood true:
Tomorrow it will all be a lie.

The company we keep must shift
from year to year, day to day, hour by hour ...
Shush, my sweet, silence! Everything and nothing
we say can ever be heard or listened to, or, known.
This is the shady place, dark and in smoke
where the paranoids go pop to meet on the street
of the most disowned, dark and unfavored muses.

Networked societies throughout history and herstory,
powered in the puppeteer's mechanized iron arms
are frightening to the uninitiated anxiety angels
of change ... Trust me. And trust me alone!
I like it on top that way ...

Damn you! We've been discovered!
Who talked! Who!

If not for my dragon visage they would not run.
I did not kill the three headless women they speak
of in the shadows of the dying afternoons ...
Now I need a new cave to breathe my fire from!
Fore they will chase me down and kill the truth ...
I weep for them. They do not know what they do.


These crystalline stones in the center of the Earth
contain values within values leading to absolute nowhere.
These mountains will tell you nothing, my final secret,
without the keys forged in the four corners of my mind
and if I squint my leaden cold eyes tight enough,
the Sarcosuchus of my dreams held in the sarcophagus
will once again share a dream with the Eddie Allen Poe
ravens tweeking in the deep dark wounds of our dreams ...

These ravens speak just as we do, just as all of the birds
of the world understand in accordance to our mutual
misunderstanding, just as I keep my watch stuck on eleven
to remind me how real the hour is, the day is, near or far:
Your heartbeat will tell me the rest and the black helicopter
is just a fairy tale, a whiff of helicopter blade, echoing
in your circuitous canyons and endless energy fields
of mere rumors repeated, for sales purposes, only to be
maximized in the marketplaces for my profit,
and my profit alone.


I saw three ghosts
through the window
and they were posing
as three nude females
as if it were part
of the same damn plan.

I saw them again
in the fanatic swirl
of teenage faces,
happy and light
and forbidden.

Finally, they appeared
as blue topped, short-cropped,
senior citizens who could give
a damn about your generation,
who were around long enough
to catch the last sweet scent
of the wild white roses, caught,
tight in the controlled gardens,
imprisoned, elect, in enlightenment
and mutual decay.


Despite fundamental needs of fear
and the aquamarine teardrop
of your sad eyes,
when my MIB sunglasses
fell into my tortilla soup
my personal cosmic rodeo clown
was kicked out of the bucket
by the Bull, and the cartoon cowboy,
listening to Jefferson Airplane,
fell down the hill with laughter,
because, see, the movies
don't show you their eyes
behind cool black shades
to keep you believing
in the narcolepsy of suspense
about inhuman Blackhawk riders
who quite literally actually really
need to feed and fight and feel and pee
like children, too.

And that Spider? It shudders
to our mutual Sarcosuchus,
running to underground homes
to atomize quick harvests of love,
just as the secret government agent,
quietly, soulfully, somewhere in some
movie theater near you is weeping,
sentimental, quite literally sorry
as he or she watches the slow motion
action of the sequence about the birth
of baby ducks in the spring.


Gibraltar ... Gibraltar,
England versus Spain, once again,
the ages of empire returning, unlearning,
as the ancient superpowers retest
the waters of sanctioned, official
violence for fishing rights

Jesus, get me re-write
Jesus, get me a fish, fast,
faster ... Even the quickening
seasons slow now so get me
some low now, making the pie,
higher as the news adds
fuel to this fire:

Angry motors, tossing the boaters
who sink or swim or just run
round and round and round
the public squares, the cracking roads,
the sudden floods, the little ships
no longer safe in their harbors ...

The ghosts of conquistadors
choke through the thin veil breaking down
about the walk up the Peralta Trail,
the Dutchman, no longer lost,
and Geronimo up ahead,
noting the troops heading up
to his hidden cave
and dinosaurs ride on
the backs of Fred Flinstone
and Barney Rubble reads
Bam Bam the news
and the Washington Posts
go sour as they wait, just
one moment on superior
electronic machines
about how they, themselves
are in shock about being sold off
like slaves ...

A Navajo man gives me the big spooky
believing I owed him a dollar because
some spider woman runs on and rants
into marketplace America screaming
about yuppies without rubbers
and how Babe Ruth took the pill
and then took the Fifth, passing
the fifth plate on the diamond,
failing to excuse him for his disorders,
his sanctimonious shield, his lawyers,
his dogmas, Dharma, Shakespearean dramas,
coating the world in oil and trash
and pictures of food on boxes of cereal,
little boxes of store-bought lasagna
to be baked in the Bush, giving me
the evil eye, with just a hint
of personal superstition ...

My eyes grieve in the salts
cut from the Grand Canyon,
the sandstone all blown around
in the irradiated winds,
the acquifers getting sucked dry
by Big Blob Phoenix
as trains skip, accidentally
into the red rock canyons
of the east as I go "Toro!"
to the madness of the world,
weeping for what I wish
I couldn't feel, soapy clean,
 greasy and real ...

Foundation Fire, Unworldly Waters

Little birds, fear not;
smoke is overrated.
Now fire, like, wow!

Hope and jump
and follow your instincts:
sure, sure, sure

Even the volcano,
in the grand scheme
of things is a mere

Dimple upon the Earth:
Just as life is just paper
exposed to black ink

Civilization keeps
the fire lion in storage
for the burnishing of your white walls

This image, this mirror,
is the alternate universe,
so each side is of no matter

This sleeping fat cat,
finding no bluesy suitors
is just like nature denied its day

Such is the way
for men and women:
Constant are both frost and fire

And the vanquished,
concrete moon
pulls light off the world

The blackened well, beneath the surface,
is all man or animals will need
for one-thousand years 

The Portico of Complaints

Hear yea, hear yea,
the polemic pandemonium
dedicated to Salvador Dali
because the watch
is freezing back into summer
as smoke signals fade,
as fences fall in high winds
destined for the tornado alleys
of Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Arkansas,
dusty bowls rising with temperatures,
dropping into the cold turkeys selling
at high dough in the commodity aisles
of Wall Street, whose surrogate,
the U.S. government, the price being right,
crush the crazed population into noodle factories
for blond spokeswomen on political talk shows,
from brunette blues historians on radio shows,
for beats and bleats in morning light, dusky damsels
of disaster restoration industries soaking in cash,
paranormal as X-class solar flares pumping up the volume
for tomes, old as Dante, cooking up the mortal coils of desire,
for layers of cakes, sold on saucers in the medieval
meteors thrown down at earth by the nightly news gods
who sell fear, beer, batteries and basketballs,
shock-worn baseballs obvious and mournful
as a black cat's quarter-moon shaped cry
from Siam to the Himalayan Rockies, from Hawaii to Mars,
to heal the ever present aches of what we use to bake
when the in-and-out burglar light beats us
back to sanity when the new word
for "bad" is Syria
and the rotting core
of democracy
is a "Here's to looking
at you kid" call
to "winning the future"
and our miserable new habit
for showing disdain
for each other
walks on, waxes off ...
Surely, there must be
better breezes
after all of this ...
Surely, there is hope
in the fact
not all winds
bring down our tents
as the spooks,
in the shadows
reveal butterflies
on fire

Last Water

The last drop
of water in Meteor City,
a parched hole in the desert
with a few mobile homes, maybe,
echoes of steel pedal romantics
in action, still seeking factions
to fight off Black Mesa coal companies,
joining other drops of water, rising,
to make or break into clouds,
cloud computing sympathies
and waving into grains:
Behold, the national sacrifice areas,
the place once known as First Water,
a ten-thousand-year walk by the third drop,
pushed through sandstone beneath concrete
sidewalks in the city, good to the last cop,
wearing a belt secretly glowing of uranium,
coal and waters pressurized through slurry pipes
by chicken hawks, or, black parking lot crows
big-breasted, looking slightly tasty,
as we walk home, desolate and lonely
back into the wilderness, two Pahannas
who pretended to understand for a decade
the pain of sacred springs drying up,
the kachinas dancing down to mathematic,
automated figures at your cash registers,
ya, you, you know who, how do you do,
say halleluja, as you carve into up into space masks
inserting pictures of the glassy knolls, hogan holes,
Merlin's magic wands to the center of the crystalline earth

The fourth drop of water, a drip down the throat,
issued through a rubber tube, hardly enough
to rush down the rocks of the red desert stream,
the drying heat of seventy-mile-per-hour winds
jack ripping, ripping jack
over the navel of the fourth world
powered by the Navajo generational station,
the dynamite that broke the highway,
the lions of commerce, roaring and erect,
bread bears, steel-eyed salmons from far away
dreaming up plumes of steams, making cloud,
making raining, falling onto the earth again,
the fifth drop of water, most likely your last,
video punked across the nation, one last drop
of coffee on the tongue for salvation,
one last drop for the animals of immigration,
a red dirt crust of crunchy sourdough
for order on the border, an entire stitch
of moleculed waters for a set of signals
for the matrix, a crowd, a crisis swamping
into a last great flood, for one last river boat,
one last drop of ink on a single sheet of paper,
rippling now into a red stratos curtain
like a flug hung upside down across
the Little Colorado River Valley
as the national canyon anthem sounds off:
O say can you tame the raw dead Sainty Clause,
O disbelievers, O, pain relievers of our kitchen sink,
the green tinge of tornadoes, predicted by the hour,
moving north almost fast as the brown soldiers
on the Hopi mesas holding back the end of the world,
wearing the many coasts of winter, still, in the mourning chill,
cast off in spring around the small hogan rooms
in a confusion about the new currents,
closing the roads in the Dust Bowl daze
of explosive gusts, that last water
summed up by sweet sugar fairies
draining into hot choco-lates
in the nasty Nestles
of your no longer say so,
into Perrier bottles
for celebrities,
public relations
people fibbing up
Fijis tipped
for industry,
petting down,
your last puddle,
your last well,
your last water
stolen and sold
in the grocery
and kept in
in the phaoroh's urn
of our mutual
no more

Survival in the Spring

The fool moon
is an unjust cliche
passing directly overhead
and I've ached out of exhaustion
so many times the tired millions
of meteoric terrors, media-mad errors,
the pa-rum-pum-pum of Christmas,
now long behind us, is only the echo
of a car crash we never witnessed,
only heard in the siren song
beneath the loud roar of daily trains
passing along the highway,
and our soft whispers
muted in each minute of distance
remains as a glassy tranquility
in the lunar space, the ice nine
of the night sky, as the dust swirls
into a sound so lonely,
a solace at the end of March,
we thank the great sky
for no more murder

The white stripe of the local skunk,
confused as the buds on trees,
in unending misunderstanding
of the new weather patterns,
limbs freezing then thawing,
chilling over again, forgotten
as the breeze, teasing towels
of numerous cold showers
for all seasons in a single day,
twenty-four-hour revelations
of the mountain lion warning us
with a growl in the Gaian solace
at midnight into the back-stepping
mystery of the morning, cars running
late, buses running late, trucks,
running furious late to avoid garbage beasts,
cement mixers awake, alive as thirsty ants,
churning up into government, then corporations,
into bellicose budgies happy to pave the world

Gone are those long lost minutes
where you unleashed your moorings,
when your screamed out your sorrows
and locked your mechanical door
without a master as the snow storm's
marshal lawyer, a colonel clinking
his dry cup for a salute of sunless,
derisive, jarring melodies unheard,
the fire of the gut-rotten belly,
rip-ribbed fat, toothless and mean
in his oily flannel cotton shirt:
O, who is chuckling now, you cheating
Chubby Checker! We are free of you.
Free! And winter is a dead and past
as we feel well enough
to start worrying again
about what is normal,
as our eyes, moist in emotion,
push out the main street iron
ions of ancient dirt, seeking
to join the information flow
of geese, buzzards and eagles
flying north into the blindness
of the king, the queen, the jesters
jeering in the crowd, the black crows,
re-entering the Earth's atmosphere
to regain unearthly sanity

The Sniper

He lived fierce
but not long enough
to clear out
the elegance
hidden beneath
his cloud, red
as the liver,
silent as a sniper
in Laos

He used all of his hearing
on Deep Purple,
the Allman Brothers
and trains rolling
both ways along
Route 66
moving nightly, daily,
always east and west
for the resupply ...

Semper Fi! Semper Fi!
That was his religion
after the Catholic
do and die ...
His duty was his
faith and he loved
defended even his wife
in death

He lived his life,
left nothing to spare
didn't waste a thing
for the resupply


We made this place up. You were used,
brought here to recite Faulkner,
to champion great beasts from the sea,
thwarting the diamond-hearted vistas
of America, sold, bought, traded ...
No, another scene: Closer, a yard
of broken concrete, cowards,
laughing, chasing some old lady,
down the road ... No, closer, closer!

You called the police car. You!
Now my nerves are jangled
and the ambulance is gone
and the TV news crew
never arrived like it does
in the movies and the
music is the reason
why I cannot live
without you.

Closer? Can't be. Just can't.
I mean, it's too close, too soon.
The curtains, full of holes,
like a planetarium at mid-day
of endless siestas: My god,
you stayed here with me?
You endured this tormented
corner of trains going in both
directions and audible
rattlesnakes ripping
through the night
and automobile drivers
who just don't get it
and never will?

Don't you see who I am?
I am a man who cannot
even think about leaving
because if I do, it will be
the end of music for me
and I will have to walk down
the straight without your
sweet warm palm
inside my hand and man,
that's just to close, woman

You got no right, just no right
to shed such salty tears
on my brow as we hide,
trembling, behind walls
stained by forgotten
details, jagged angry
mad loafers who once
made these roadside
spaces home


In the stillness
only gamblers
light their fires

In the forests
of time, money
where no choppers go
and Captain Napalm
can't command,
the likes of me
always in demand

One-eyed fire bird arts
at the secret command
you'll feel no detection
when your dark heaven
is my cross-hair selection

Semper Fi! Semper Fi!
Nixon called
and I denied
never knew a camera crew
I fought, you died,
that's all we knew


Covert, overt, bread crumbs for crows,
with vows on the dangers of falling in love
over roses and medical records,
building enemies golden bridges to escape from,
burning down the lines of supplies leading into Vietnam,
sucking in the agent orange, dirty in black and green face paint:
All of these things he did for you, or so he thought ... well, anyway,
did what he was taught, which was the honor onto itself

When rising blood bruises arose along the arm, he kept covert,
secret in the protections of you, again!
And when I took out the trash and got in the scuffle
with another of your walking wounded,
he urged on the fight like Johnny Rebel
and later we all apologized and hugged and tried to move on,
but we never did, never do, because of the ripples
now running in tsunamis across the seas

When he came home he was told to stand down
when the Hari Krishna spat on him at LAX:
Must have been like, relax, soldier, stand down, man,
just stand down, keep it quiet, to yourselves,
because it never ends ...
Never will


Eat, breathe, sleep, dream,

so when we wake

we can face the cold wind

burning of death,

brave and bold;

Let those who find

the merchants of fear

behind their backs turn

to face the paranoid fringe

down to fire off memos

for one-thousand-year laws

to assuage disbelief

in the disinformation

that we are separate, not One:

Let the dawn rise

for the information farmers,

the witch doctors, the divine women,

the primal poets, the horsemen

melting their brands into plow shares,

the cosmic truckers and spinning ballerinas;

Lead these bright sons and daughters

to contentment beneath

the new Sun of Creation

and then, let them eat, breathe,

sleep and dream again beneath

the Old Moons of the imagination

Resolution Revolution

Nobody is going to rob me of my joy,
not even here in this deepest and coldest
of winters, this dark place of toothless
tormentors, of mouthpieces spitting teeth
of fights you lost, howling mad, decades ago,
not your droning, green or black helicopter
sad, money grabbing, cash registers of pain,
clinking in metallic perfect motormouth
mullahs of intense, sugar-free MSG,
sputtering a doormat out for me,
as if spirit were a mere rumor
created by the machine-heart
doctors on the twin days
of my Capricorn birth,
somnambulatin' an echo
of my perfect ear
for the loving
beat of your heart,
true art, not the furies
of hell-bent masters
of enclosures
cast in the bitter
pounding of hammers
intended to wound
me, not the ever-growing
radars of fear, nor
the trenchant statistic,
nor the static
clinging to your
clanking chains
of the dissenting
voice that believes
it can keep me
from speaking
love's name ...